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6 things we learned from the Fantastic Beasts fan event

On Thursday, Harry Potter fans gathered in theaters around the world with a fervor not seen since The Deathly Hallows – Part 2 hit theaters in 2011. As part of the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them global fan event, the movie’s filmmakers and cast assembled in London and Los Angeles for a livestreamed Q&A, teasing new footage and sharing a few behind-the-scenes details.

The biggest news, of course, was that J.K. Rowling is planning a total of five Fantastic Beasts movies, but the cast and crew also revealed a few other pieces of new information. Here are six of the most interesting revelations:


1. Grindelwald looms large over Fantastic Beasts

Even before Harry heads to Hogwarts for the first time, he learns about Albus Dumbledore and his epic 1945 duel against the dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald (thanks to a chocolate frog card on the Hogwarts Express). Rowling explored the relationship between Grindelwald and Dumbledore further in The Deathly Hallows, but Fantastic Beasts will introduce the notorious wizard at the height of his power, terrorizing Europe and calling for the wizard domination of Muggles (and No-Majs). Fans in theaters were treated to a screening of the first few minutes of the film, which featured plenty of newspaper headlines about Grindelwald’s reign of terror.

“He’s going to become a much more prominent part of the stories going forward,” director David Yates added. “Any more than that, I really couldn’t say.”

2. Dumbledore plays a role, too.

Because Fantastic Beasts takes place in 1926, we shouldn’t expect to see too many familiar faces pop up. (Sadly, Harry, Ron, and Hermione weren’t born yet.) But Yates revealed that you will hear a little bit about a certain wizard with half moon spectacles. “We do mention Dumbledore in this movie,” Yates said. “He features a little bit in a wonderful scene between Colin [Farrell] and Eddie [Redmayne].”

3. Jon Voight plays a No-Maj newspaper magnate.

While we’ve learned a lot so far about Redmayne’s Newt Scamander and Katherine Waterston’s Tina Goldstein, not much has been said about Jon Voight’s mysterious character. Voight participated in the fan Q&A live from Los Angeles, where he revealed that he plays a 1920s newspaper magnate named Henry Shaw Sr.

“I have a small character in the piece,” Voight said. “He’s a No-Maj, so that’s sad for me, to have to play a No-Maj in a movie of magic. But I identify with the character in some ways. He’s a father; he’s a devoted father in some ways. He’s a strong fellow, very stern.”

4. Dan Fogler has a familial connection to his character.

Although most of Fantastic Beasts’ main characters are witches and wizards, Fogler plays a No-Maj named Jacob Kowalski who accidentally stumbles into the world of magic. And Fogler added that he and Jacob have more in common than just their non-magical tendencies.

“Jacob is a baker, and my great great grandfather was a baker on the Lower East Side of New York,” Fogler revealed. “Fogler’s Pumpernickel, man! So it’s so surreal. I feel like I’m in a dream.”

5. The entire cast geeked out whenever Rowling stopped by.

Just because they’re playing her characters doesn’t mean that the cast members didn’t get a little starstruck whenever Rowling visited the set. “One of the best moments for us on set was when Jo would come to set,” Redmayne said. “I think David found it a mixture of wonderful and mildly frustrating because we would turn into 7-year-olds and would stop work. Jo would come up to us and say, ‘I’m working on the new script. I’m not allowed to tell you anything, but…”

“I get excited,” Rowling added. “I tell actors things.”

6. Newt’s adventures are far from over.

As Rowling revealed, she’s planning a total of five Fantastic Beasts movies, and they won’t all be in New York. “We next see Newt in another big capital city, and it’s not going to be New York,” Yates said. “It’s somewhere else entirely.”

Head here to watch the full Q&A, and check out more from Fantastic Beasts at EW PopFest. Details available below.


Fantastic Beasts hits theaters on Nov. 18.